Boards & Directors 35th Anniversary Edition Features Worm On A Chopstick

Very pleased to announce that the upcoming 35th Anniversary Edition of Boards & Directors magazine will feature Worm On A Chopstick: : Understanding Today’s Entrepreneurial Age: Directions, Strategies, Management Perspectives in its recommended reading section “Book it: Best bets for board reading“.  As you may know, Boards & Directors magazine targets officers and directors of public companies. To see the  review of ‘Chopstick’ and other recommended books, click here Worm On A Chopstick Featured in Directors & Boards 35th Anniversary Issue

I sent many messages to traditional management in ‘Chopstick’ (e.g., innovation management, entrepreneurial thinking, globalization, etc.), but most positive response for the book to date has been from the entrepreneurial sector. I am very appreciative of the recognition of ‘Chopstick’ which is in good company with the other recommended books here.

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How A Startup Catalyst in Lebanon Helps Young, Aspiring Entrepreneurs

How A Startup Catalyst in Lebanon Helps Young, Aspiring Entrepreneurs

You read that right, Lebanon. One of Lebanon’s most active startup catalysts, Seeqnce, hosted a new competition in partnership with Cedrus Ventures during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Over two weeks in Seeqnce’s new interactive workspace in Hamra, young aspiring entrepreneurs submitted ideas, formed teams, underwent training and selection, and then completed a 48-hour bootcamp, culminating in a prototype pitch to judges. Of
60 initial entrepreneurs, only 42 made the initial cut to form 11 teams, and one team dropped out due to the pressure. Many fledgling startups gained valuable experience here.

Teams present their business models to the jury, led by the Minister of Telecommunications Nicolas Sehnaoui. Each team had five minutes to explain their business concept and general revenue model, and then they had to showcase either a working prototype or a skeleton of their website. The jury assessed them based on four criteria: team members, presentation, product, and viability. Jury members asked tough questions, such as the supply chain of some products and how some of these startups were differentiating themselves from other established companies on the market.

The above highlights are extracted from an interesting article which I recommend reading

Here are my observations on the above:

  • The MENA (Middle East North Africa) region has a vibrant, energetic new venture community driven by aspiring entrepreneurs – this is a positive force in these countries – I find many in the U.S. are not aware of this
  • The MENA economies are really driven by smaller companies – for example, in Saudi Arabia, about 40 percent of the population work in companies with market cap of less than $15,000. While many are what we call ‘necessity’ vs ‘opportunity’ driven small business, nonetheless the new venture momentum is strong
  • The above scenario is, at some level, repeated in every country in the world. Global entrepreneurship is alive and well. As an example, I closely track the health care sector and while the US has an impressive health care system, most would be surprised at the level of innovation  emerging from overseas entrepreneurs.
  • Helping these efforts provides many of the benefits you would expect such as regional economic growth, job creation, and so on. Being directly involved in this area several years ago, I saw one other benefit- the ability to identify and build on these
    relationships to create a win-win and also help U.S. companies and our economy.

Today this is an ad-hoc effort . During a November 21st TV interview on the Inside Scoop Business program , I described a new program, the AEGIS program (“Accelerated Entrepeneurial Global Investment System) I am proposing to help attract overseas innovative ventures and technology to the U.S. market to promote job creation, innovation, and economic growth. Some key features of the proposed new program which I described in the interview:

  • Replaces today’s ad-hoc approach to identify, analyze, track and manage new ventures with a highly structured, well-defined program
  • Builds a base of ‘showcase’ companies in targeted sectors (e.g., alternative energy, bio-tech, health care, others) that provide high upside, economic benefits
  • New U.S. entities have global reach thus creating new export opportunities

I am starting discussions with the administration in early December related to AEGIS and will be seeking to attract major business partners to also participate. From my perspective looking at global entrepreneurship, I see many benefits here and the
ability to create win-win situations with overseas partners.

Stay tuned.

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New Vision Needed: Creative Entrepreneurially Driven Technologies Can Improve Health Care

Clearly our health care sector has lagged behind all others in using leading edge technologies to improve operations- vested interests have really not worried too much about costs; these were just passed on to consumers, directly and indirectly. But new tools and technologies are rapidly emerging in the health care sector and these are driven by emerging entrepreneurial firms rather than the traditional major players. No surprise here- statistics show more than 95 percent of all radical technology innovation in the past 60 years has been developed by SMEs (small medium enterprises) not major corporations as you might expect. 
Bolder options are needed now to address today’s health care problems – the prescription: deploying new technology and capital on global best practices.

Let me share a vision on the possibilities. Suppose we create a new national eHealth program. Program objectives are to commit to use leading edge information and communications technology to improve patient safety, accessibility and quality of care; enable patient mobility nationally and internationally; meet the increasing demands from our citizens and healthcare professionals; and use eHealth as the main tool for renewal and improvement of our nation’s health care services. We will use telemedicine and other technologies to support creative, cost effective new solutions to improve our health care system. Consider some possibilities: 

Your patient records are stored as secure Electronic Health Records or ‘EHRs’. Just like your secure on-line bank account transaction records, you can access this information, identify issues, alert your practitioners, and if needed, request your EHR be sent to another physician or laboratory. No more going to a physician’s office to pick up copies of imaging data and records, paying extra costs and using ‘sneaker net’ to move this data between offices.

Patients with heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and chronic illnesses, are monitored using at home telemedicine devices including ‘smart beds’ which automatically monitor and transmit diagnostics and vital signs to remote telemedicine centers.

Patient monitoring services are enhanced with predictive analytics and decision support systems that monitor all patient diagnostics, including ECG sensors transmitting data via mobile phones. Using intelligent, real time, secure predictive analytics technology, the diagnostic system helps assess patient status, identify any deviations and alerts the appropriate medical resources, including emergency services.

Telemedicine systems will provide rural, remote regions with access to practitioners, including specialists. The same infrastructure will be used to support ‘mobile’ health care clinics to treat some of the 42 million people in the United States who have no health insurance.
Remote consultations among practitioners and patients can be easily accomplished using secure, on-demand multimedia eHealth communications channels.

You have a wide range of online eHealth physical and wellness program alternatives available offered within the national eHealth program.

The above sounds impossible or ‘decades away’ to many. Not really. The eHealth vision above is widely promoted within EU countries now making excellent progress in deploying these new capabilities throughout Europe. And the specific program objectives above were cited in a speech by the Swedish Minister of Health in December 2007, less than four years ago. One EU study reported that about 70 percent of European physicians now use the internet and 66 percent use computers for consultations. Administrative patient data are electronically stored in 80 percent of general practices which is impressive. European physicians transfer about 40 percent of their data to laboratories electronically and about 10 percent to other health centers. Electronic prescriptions (‘e-prescribing’) is widely used in only three member states: Denmark (97 percent), Sweden (81 percent and the Netherlands (71 percent). Sweden has an impressive track record in deploying new national technology solutions such as ‘Sjunet’, their secure national information and communications technology or ‘ICT’ infrastructure supporting eHealth applications in Sweden.

‘Intelligent’ remote telemedicine technology may sound far off, but these services using predictive analytics are now offered. One example is the Kiwok BodyKom Series™ technology which offers patients in Sweden capabilities going well beyond traditional patient monitoring, such as ability to detect early disease symptoms; to follow up treatment processes for patients out-of-hospital; to follow and predict care demands in pre-hospital services; to directly transfer the information to a patient’s individual Electronic Health Record; among other features.

Summarizing, all would agree our health care system is broken. We can argue about policies, but we need to fix the systemit. The prescription: establish national level priorities to develop and deploy creative new technology solutions. Recognize that entrepreneurial firms will be a key driver in our progress and we reap significant benefits by more effectively leveraging our nation’s entrepreneurial assets. And we should learn lessons looking at global best practices of others are well ahead of the United States in developing an effective health care solutions. That is the recommended prescription to fix our ailing health care system. No need to call me in the morning.

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